The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers establish, train employees, and follow proper lockout & tagout procedures whenever employees are working on equipment. This standard is cited within the top ten OSHA penalties.
The purpose of an effective lockout, tagout & tryout program is to protect the employees from serious or fatal injuries that could occur during the unexpected release of energy while servicing machinery or equipment. An effective program shall be used to ensure that the machine or equipment is stopped, isolated from all potential hazardous energy sources and locked out before any person performs any servicing or maintenance, where unexpected energization or startup of the machine or equipment could occur. The OSHA Standard require every business with lockout / tagout requirements to have a written program.
Definitions of frequently used terminology:
Lockout – A technique used to prevent the release of hazardous energy, or to prevent the hazardous energy from escaping. A padlock is placed on the appropriate energy-isolating device that is in the OFF or closed position.
Energy Isolating Device – A mechanical device that physically prevents the transmission or release of energy.
Energy Control Procedure – Safety program adopted by the employer that includes energy control procedures plus provisions for inspecting the procedures and training employees for lockout/tagout.
Authorized Employee – One who locks out machines or equipment in order to perform the servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment.
Affected Employee – One whose job requires him/her to operate or use a machine or equipment on which servicing or maintenance is being performed under lockout, or whose job requires him/her to work in an area in which such servicing or maintenance is being performed.
To conform to OSHA’s 1910.147 compliance standards, all employees are required to comply with the restrictions and limitations imposed upon them during the use of lockout, tagout & tryout. Authorized and fully trained employees are required to perform the lockout pro cess. Other employees, upon observing a machine or piece of equipment, which is locked out to perform servicing or maintenance, shall not attempt to start, energize, or use that machine or equipment.
Lockout procedures must include; alerting the operator(s) that power is being disconnected. Preparation for shutdown, then the equipment must be shut down, lockout devices applied, then there must be an equipment isolation and verification procedure completed. The following is a list of some of the types of energy sources that must be locked out.
- Air – Compression
- Gas – Rotating parts
- Stored electrical – Electrical
- Gravity – Thermal
- Hydraulic pressure – Chemical
There are five fatal main causes of lockout/tagout injuries.
- Failure to stop equipment;
- Failure to disconnect from power source;
- Failure to dissipate (bleed, neutralize) residual energy;
- Accidental restarting of equipment; and
- Failure to clear work areas before restarting.
Here are some general awareness tips for an effective lockout/tagout process:
- Never attempt lockout/tagout procedures unless you have been trained and certified by your employer under an approved Energy Control Program.
- Never loan or share your lock, combination, or key with anybody else.
- Ensure that the energy is completely dissipated prior to working on the equipment.
- Always be sure all lockout/tagout devices are compatible with the environment in which they will be used, i.e., corrosive, humid, etc.
- Prior to starting work on the machine DO NOT FORGET TO TRYOUT the machine or system to ensure that there is no energy left to hurt you.
When the job has been completed, be sure to follow proper procedures for the removal of the lockout. Ensure equipment is safe to operate; all equipment must be in the neutral position. Safeguard all employees; remove lockout/tagout devices. Except in emergencies, each device must be removed by the person who put it on.
Accidents caused by faulty lockout/ tagout procedures or processes can be avoided. Read the OSHA standard at the OSHA web site at www.OSHA.gov. Should you need further information or technical support please feel free to contact your safety officer.
* Tag – You’re Safe *